India Rising

First there was the Bombay Rising article about the financial markets in india. Now, Newsweek has done a piece on the “The New India.” The India story just keeps getting more press and more visibility. Some excerpts from the article: “…The country might have several Silicon Valleys, but it also has three Nigerias within it, more than 300 million people living on less than a dollar a day.” “…The Indian-American community has been a bridge between the two cultures. The term often used to describe Indians leaving their country is “brain drain.” But it’s been more like brain gain, for both sides. Indians abroad have played a crucial role in opening up the mother country. They returned to India with money, investment ideas, global standards and, most important, a sense that one could achieve anything.”
Link to article
Download article [pdf, 6 pages, 44kb]

2007 Mercedes Benz S Class

The 9th generation S class was recently released, the 2007 S550 delivers 382 horsepower and 391 lb.-ft. of torque. The new S550, starts at USD 85,400 in the US and will start arriving in showrooms during February. To compare the Indian market to the US, in 2005 Mercedes sold 2019 cars in India. Fletcher Jones Mercedes located in Newport Beach, California sold 5331 cars for the same period. It’s the largest Mercedes dealership in the world based on volume.

Movie review: Enron

I just saw the movie on the downfall of Enron – The Smartest Guys in the Room. It’s a documentary following the rise and fall of Enron. Not something to watch at an IMAX theater but very interesting to see the inner workings of the Enron culture of greed and arrogance. The height of the movie was during an excerpt from an April 17, 2001 earnings conference call where an analyst asked a question and Jeff Skilling fired back: Analyst – “You’re the only financial institution that can’t produce a balance sheet or cash flow statement with their earnings…” Skilling – “You, you, you…well uh…thank you very much. We appreciate it…asshole” To lose your cool during a earnings conference is just plain stupid but it shows the arrogance of Jeff Skilling.

Only in LA LA Land

Former Gizmondo executive Stefan Eriksson crashed his USD 1,000,000 Ferrari Enzo into a light pole and split it in two, while driving on Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, Cali. There are only 400 of these babies made, so I can only imagine the others will increase in price. But, here is where the Hollywood angle comes in – Stefan blamed a German man called “Dietrich”, the supposed driver who allegedly fled the scene. Stefan had a blood-alcohol content of .09% at the scene of the accident. It was rumored that “Dietrich” was racing a Mercedes Benz SLR a USD 500,000 car. I hope that Stefan spends the rest of his life looking for “Dietrich.” For updates on this story click here

India budget predictions

Over the past few weeks many of the financial institutions have been releasing their views on the upcoming budget that will be officially announced on Feb 28th, once released you can download a copy from the Ministry of Finance website. The Indian Railways budget will be released today, for some reason the Railway always has a separate budget. The better predictions to read are from Kotak, Refco and Sharekahn.
Kotak
Refco
Sharekhan Enam
KRC

Ravi Shankar, Part 2

The Times of India sucks, they will print anything and everything that most respectable papers would shy away from. Case in point, the Ravi Shankar and Zakir Hussain concert over the weekend. I was surprised to find no mention of the event in Monday’s paper, but figured since the Times of India was not involved in the sponsorship they probably “forgot” to write about it. On Tuesday they not only wrote about it but they got the facts completely wrong, I guess their way of telling people they should use them to sponsor such events. The following from the paper: Zakir’s act upset the audience since it could only hear Ravi Shankar and his daughter Anoushka. They kept up a steady chant of “We want tabla”, following which Zakir put the microphone back in its place and continued playing. What sh!@#$, I was in the crowd and did not hear ONE person chant that garbage as they report. I did hear ONE person approach the stage and tell Zakir to plug his mic in. I guess the fact-checker for the Times of India was outside eating samosas and drinking chai.

Ravi Shankar and Zakir Hussain

After being in India for over 4 months finally got the chance to listen to some live music and from none other than – Ravi Shankar, Zakir Hussain and Anoushka Shankar. It was awesome, it was the first time in 6 years that Ravi and Zakir played together and over 15 years while playing together in India. I’ve always been a fan of the tabla and hearing Zakir jamming on the tabla’s for the first time was an experience. They played for over 2 1/2 hours with an intermission. The sound quality was perfect, however after the intermission Zakir probably felt his tabla’s were drowning out the sounds of the sitar so he unplugged his mic. You could still hear the tabla’s but not as loud. About 25 minutes later some guy walks towards the center of the stage and tells Zakir to plug the mic back in. I couldn’t believe it, I personally thought it was some cop or political activist protesting the show. Zakir looks at Ravi and Ravi instructs Zakir to plug it back in. Once he does and tests the tabla, the crowd went WILD – it was surreal. They continued for another 20 minutes and it was great.